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$170,066
pledged of $126,539 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

$170,066
pledged of $126,539 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

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Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About this project

AirBuddy is the smallest and lightest diving gear in the world. Designed specifically for self-guided shallow water dives, it brings more freedom to diving - no air refills, rentals, complicated logistics or bulky gear! With AirBuddy's tankless design, you choose your locations and can dive anytime and anywhere. And it fits in your bag, making it a perfect companion for your travels.

Get closer to underwater life than when snorkeling and experience the weightless feeling without carrying heavy air-filled tanks on your back.

Diving & being spontaneous? Definitely YES! Pack your AirBuddy for a family day on a beach, go yachting or drive up the coast in your campervan. Or just use if for any other diving activities in shallow water such as underwater photography, lobstering, coral gardening, hull cleaning, pool maintenance, etc.

 

We have been featured in the following media outlets and events. If you are interested in writing about AirBuddy, please feel free to check out our press kit and get in touch with us at media@airbuddy.net.

 

AirBuddy brings a new alternative, bridging the gap between snorkeling and SCUBA. The rechargeable battery-powered air compressor provides you with fresh air from the surface. Just grab it and go swimming between corals and fish - for up to 45 minutes and max 12 metres (40ft) deep. Easy as that!

Experience a less inhibited diving experience with increased safety. Don’t carry unnecessarily heavy equipment on yourself - feel like a fish in the water.

  • No heavy gear on your back
  • No need to adjust your bouyancy throughout the dive
  • With no BCD (containing residual air), wear less weights (less gear to carry)
  • With lower drag, wear smaller fins to propel yourself (less gear to carry)
  • Use a more natural frog kick (as opposed to flutter kick)
  • Simply walk to dive sites with difficult road access
  • Set-up and pack-up in less than 2 minutes

We created AirBuddy as a way to give you the freedom to dive whenever you like without the hassle or the restrictive bulk of SCUBA gear. Take AirBuddy with you when the weather is nice (and ocean calm) and you feel like having an amazing day full of new adventures underwater.

 

It's simple. The rechargeable 12V battery powers the air compressor that pressurises the surface air. The air is then delivered to the diver through a receiver and a supply hose with a regulator (mouthpiece). This means you don’t have to store and take all the compressed air with you under water. You breathe fresh air from the surface.

AirBuddy is the ultimate "grab-and-go" solution for recreational diving. It's compact and the entire system weighs only 9.5kg (21 lbs), which is about 60-70% less than other dive gear on the market. You can take it with you literally anywhere - it’s plane-friendly and fits your travel bag. No need to worry about operating it - you can set it up/pack it up in just about 2 minutes.

 

Whether you head to the beach after work, fly on holiday to Fiji, set the sails to cruise, collect abalone, or just want to clean your hull, AirBuddy is the perfect companion for your shallow water diving.

 

AirBuddy sparked interest in many divers who have been supporting us in the last years - performing beta tests, providing ideas and feedback and helping to spread the word about AirBuddy. Here is what some of them say:

 

Fun fact: Did you know that corals tend to grow at relatively shallow depths where the sunlight still penetrates the water? That’s where you also find the majority of marine species that live off of the coral or seek protection in coral structures.

That's why how much you see doesn’t depend on how deep, but how often you dive. Most of our best sightings occurred in depths of less than 12 metres.  Hence the dive depth we designed AirBuddy for. Voilà!!! (We shot all of these photos within this depth. See more on our Instagram).

 

Share the fun & dive together with a buddy. You can either connect 2 divers to one AirBuddy (and get a 45min session, max depth 6m /20ft) or link 2 AirBuddies together (and get 45min session, max depth 12m /40ft). Two AirBuddies will float together in a formation that prevents a potential entanglement of the hoses. And even if the hoses cross one day, no worries - it doesn't stop the air flow.

 

Making you safe is our first priority! With AirBuddy, you dive deep enough to explore the beauty of marine life, but not deep enough to run a serious risk of DCS (decompression sickness, aka "bends"). 

Unless you dive more than 3 times in a row, which is unlikely as you'd need to swap 4 batteries, you still are within the NDL (no decompression limit), thus can surface in case of an emergency without any stops and risk of DCS.

With shallow water diving, you are just seconds away from the surface. You can swim up if needed. An ascent from a shallow dive takes only about 20 sec from 6m/ 20ft to 40sec from 12m/ 40ft at the PADI recommended ascent rates.

In an unlikely event of an emergency, you can use 2 backup systems before needing to perform CESA (controlled emergency swimming ascent):

  • Backup #1: Use 15L compressed emergency air contained in the red float/reservoir, which provides about 4-5 breaths at 12m depth to about 12-15 breaths when closer to surface at about 1m depth.
  • Backup #2: Use 100% redundant egressor/ pony bottle - size of your choice (purchased separately).
  • CESA: Swim towards the surface while slowly breathing out (making the "aaaaaah" sound).

Who can use AirBuddy? Anyone who can swim, feels comfortable in the water, is willing to learn and obey the diving rules and procedures and has no medical conditions preventing them from diving with compressed air.

But at the end of the day, YOU are the ultimate guardian of your own safety. Proper dive training is crucial for your comfort and safety. Dive responsibly, know your limits and never go to a depth you don't feel comfortable ascending from in case of an emergency, certainly not without any 100% redundant back-up system. And remember, it is always a good idea to practise your first dives with AirBuddy in waist level water and then slowly progress as you gain more experience and confidence.

AirBuddy comes with additional safety backup features and our online support system - watch our FREE instruction videos that explain the key diving principles and safety rules.

More Safety Features:

  • (1) Large 15L air reservoir provides emergency air for safe return to the surface.
  • (2) Low battery level monitor and alarm starts sending out audible signals when the battery voltage drops below 11V (about 45 min of operation). This is the signal for you to ascend.
  • (3) Visible float and diving flag to mark your position to boats, fishermen, etc. 
  • (4) Detachable magnetic wristband with a switch to ensure that only you (the diver) can switch AirBuddy off. 
  • (5) Abrasion and kink resistant air hose made from strong polyurethane that limits the depth of your descend.
  • (6) Elaborate air ways with 3x snorkel assembly to prevent splash water reaching the compressor.
  • (7) Capsize protection to about 110° tilt with the weight mass in the lower section acting as a keel and an electronic system to prevent water ingress.

 

 

AirBuddy comes with a charger so instead of complicated air tank refills, simply recharge the battery from a power outlet (battery is fully recharged in 3.5hrs) at home, on your boat or even a campervan - just like you do with your mobile or camera! For a second consecutive dive with AirBuddy, use an additional battery (that weighs only 2.9kg).

And the best part? Your costs of operation are limited to the electricity you use (about $0.1 per recharge) and an occasional maintenance every few years (or round a hundred dives), meaning you save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the gear. The battery is rated to retain more than 80% of its capacity even after 1,500 cycles!

AirBuddy provides a flat cost structure. The gear costs and maintenance costs are comparable with mid-range SCUBA gear. The difference is that you don't pay any rental or air-refill costs (and logistics) each time you go diving. You just recharge the battery from a socket for about 10 cents. This makes diving affordable, with significant savings over the time.

 

Fun fact: Surface-supplied diving (SSBA) has been around for longer than SCUBA, the first divers explored the sea bed in their funny looking dive suits with large brass helmets already back in the 19th century. 

We combined this almost 200-year old diving principle with the latest technologies, materials and innovations and created a compact, user-friendly unit.

AirBuddy is unique in the way it's bridging the gap between snorkeling and SCUBA. Whereas SCUBA (or rebreathers) are virtually irreplaceable on deep dives or dives with overhang (caves, wrecks), AirBuddy is perfect for hassle-free shallow water dives. Same sport, different use case, different gear. Just like road bike vs. mountain bike or cross country ski vs. downhill ski.

 

We designed AirBuddy for maximum performance, comfort, and safety at the minimum weight and size. Because stowability and transportability matter, too. Now you can take your dive gear anywhere you want. AirBuddy weighs 9.5kg (21lbs) in total. Out of this, the recoil hose, vest and regulator weigh about 1.7kg (3.7lbs) and the main unit weighs 7.8kg (17.2lbs).

Every part has been precisely engineered and has gone through many rounds of testing and improvements. We are also proud to be holding a patent for the six key innovations we made for: compressor cooling, battery, underwater signalling, secure switching, the air hose, and the air reservoir.

 

We began working on AirBuddy back in 2013 when we realised the potential of SSBA for self-guided recreational shallow water diving. Unable to find the right product on the market for our underwater explorations in Sydney and on our travels, we set out the goal to build a small, light-weight and easy to use dive gear. This is how AirBuddy compares to other recreational SSBA:

 

Each AirBuddy comes in a package that consists of: compressor unit, pressure reservoir (float), supply hose, harness and regulator, battery, charger, dive flag (american/ alpha), magnetic switch (bracelet), velcro straps (float attachment) and battery transport case.

You are ready to hit the beach the very same day you unpack your AirBuddy from the box. Just charge the battery, pack your fins, mask and weights, and you're ready to dive in no time.

While our primary focus at the moment remains on the core product (AirBuddy), there is a range of ideas for add-on features and accessories that we have evaluated for the future. One exciting feature is GPS tracking that will enable you to review your dive path and share with others. We also keep an eye on the fast advancing solar charging technology to become feasible for charging AirBuddy in remote locations.

 

We are a team of passionate divers, mechanical engineers and experienced entrepreneurs. AirBuddy was designed by divers, for divers.

We believe that the world can be continuously improved if you understand people and give them something that combines great design, a bit of clever invention and is fun to use. Together, we have four decades of experience in business, engineering and design and collectively hold 6 master's degrees.

We developed AirBuddy to brings the ease of snorkeling into the fascinating world of diving. Our mission is to help more people to explore and appreciate the beauty of our marine life.

 

Please, back our campaign today by choosing one of the rewards from the right panel. Your support is invaluable! Anytime you see AirBuddy on the beach in the future, please proudly know it's thanks to you, the original backers! And those of you who opt for AirBuddy can in return for your trust look forward to an amazing diving experience. See you in the water!

 

After almost four years of development, seven generations of prototypes, and countless hours of diving and testing AirBuddy, today we are ready to bring AirBuddy to you. While developing some pretty amazing technologies, we also build a strong network of manufacturers that form a solid supply chain. Below you can see the journey so far and what comes next:

 

Diving is a huge part of our life. We can’t picture a world without it. But we also know that, for many reasons, it may not be the the easiest sport to practice. Let's make diving more accessible and simple for everyone together!

We’re ready to set up manufacturing of AirBuddy. But we can't use the the same technologies that we used for prototyping, such as 3D print, silicone-urethane molding or hand-carving. They are too expensive, extremely slow and imprecise. We need the support from you - other passionate divers, water lovers, professionals and technology enthusiasts - to reach a scale that enables the investment into injection molding and bulk orders of components to meet MOQs of our suppliers.

We’ve turned to Kickstarter to build this community and to ensure that the last crucial step of setting up our production is done right. And for this opportunity we are eternally thankful. Please, pledge and share this project to join us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

Although we have spent almost 4 years on development and testing, there is always the possibility that slight adjustments may need to be made when finally preparing for production. We have built in a sufficient buffer into our delivery timeline to ensure that we have plenty of time to get the final product just right and deliver the safest, highest quality version of the AirBuddy to you, our backers.

SUPPLIERS

We cooperate with reputable and experienced suppliers only. AirBuddy is built with components coming from multiple suppliers around the world because we strive for the best quality and are not willing to compromise. If any possible delays occur, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

MANUFACTURING

We have an experienced team that has been working hard on our 7 generations of prototypes for the past 4 years. In addition to proper technical documentation, we created assembly procedures and defined tooling requirements to assist clear, fact based communication with our partners. Our goal is to deliver an excellent product with the highest quality.

We are well prepared and see this going smoothly. However, if any roadblocks should arise, we promise to keep our backers informed every step of the way.

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    Pledge AU$ 1 or more About $0.75

    THANKS A LOT BUDDY!

    (0.8 USD, 0.7 EUR)

    Thank you very much for your support. We'll be sure to keep you in the know of any AirBuddy news with updates along the way. You will be in our hearts forever.

    - Thank you
    - Updates

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    Pledge AU$ 29 or more About $22

    YOU'RE AWESOME!

    (22 USD, 20 EUR)

    Thank you very much for joining us on our adventure! We can't wait to share our progress with you. We'll keep you in the know of any AirBuddy news, including special backer deals and promotions. You'll also receive an AirBuddy Neoprene Mask Strap Cover to add comfort and professional look to your dive mask (don't worry about shipping costs, we've got you covered). Buddies forever.

    - Thank you & updates
    - Neoprene mask strap cover
    - Free shipping

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    Pledge AU$ 99 or more About $74

    AMAZING UNVEILING PARTY

    (75 USD, 71 EUR)

    Thank you so much! Your support means the world to us! You're invited to join a truly amazing beach BBQ (catered by us) with public unveiling and Q&A session to get a behind the scenes look at AirBuddy as it comes to life. We'll also keep you informed of our journey with updates every step of the way. Be ready to discover AirBuddy in detail!

    - Thank you & updates
    - BBQ party in Sydney, AU (catered by us)
    - Unveiling ceremony
    - Behind the scenes, Q&A
    - AirBuddy T-shirt
    - Let's celebrate together!

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    Pledge AU$ 349 or more About $262

    ADD SPARE BATTERY

    (264 USD, 249 EUR)

    33% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!

    Your AirBuddy comes with one battery. A second battery equals more diving! You'll get a spare battery at our special Kickstarter only price. To add the extra battery to your AirBuddy package, simply add the battery price to your selected reward.

    - Second battery for more diving
    - Add-on to your selected AirBuddy package
    - No additional shipping costs

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    Pledge AU$ 1,689 or more About $1,269

    SINGLE DIVER SPECIAL

    (1278 USD, 1204 EUR)

    28% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!

    Thank you for your amazing support. Anytime you see AirBuddy on the beach in the future, please proudly know it's thanks to you, the original backers! You'll receive a single diver package with:
    - 1x AirBuddy
    - 1x Lithium battery
    - 1x Battery charger
    - 1x Single diver hose
    - 1x Harness
    - 1x Regulator

    To include a second battery, add to your pledge +264 USD (349 AUD, 249 EUR).

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    Pledge AU$ 1,858 or more About $1,396

    BUDDY PACK SPECIAL

    (1406 USD, 1325 EUR)

    30% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!

    With this package you can connect 2 divers to your AirBuddy and dive together to a max deph of 6 meters (20 feet). You'll receive a buddy diver package with:
    - 1x AirBuddy
    - 1x Lithium battery
    - 1x Battery charger
    - 1x Buddy diver split hose
    - 2x Harness
    - 2x Regulator

    To include a second battery, add to your pledge +264 USD (349 AUD, 249 EUR).

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    Pledge AU$ 3,249 or more About $2,442

    DUO PACK SPECIAL

    (2459 USD, 2316 EUR)

    31% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!

    With this package you can link 2 AirBuddies together to dive with your buddy to a max deph of 12 meters (40 feet). You'll receive a duo diver package with:
    - 2x AirBuddy
    - 2x Lithium battery
    - 2x Battery charger
    - 2x Single diver hose
    - 2x Harness
    - 2x Regulator

    To include 2 additional batteries, add to your pledge +528 USD (698 AUD, 498 EUR).

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    Pledge AU$ 6,499 or more About $4,884

    RETAILER/ RESORT PACK 4

    (4919 USD, 4635 EUR)

    32% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!
    FREE SHIPPING !!!

    Welcome on board! With this package you'll be among the first to trial your retail/ rental operations. You'll receive 4 single diver packages with:
    - 4x AirBuddy
    - 4x Lithium battery
    - 4x Battery charger
    - 4x Single diver hose
    - 4x Harness
    - 4x Regulator

    To include additional batteries, add to your pledge a multiple of +264 USD (349 AUD, 249 EUR).

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    Pledge AU$ 1,299 or more About $976

    SUPER EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

    (983 USD, 926 EUR)

    44% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!

    Thank you for being one of the first to join us in making AirBuddy a reality! Your early support is extremely important for the campaign success. You'll receive a single diver package with:
    - 1x AirBuddy
    - 1x Lithium battery
    - 1x Battery charger
    - 1x Single diver hose
    - 1x Harness
    - 1x Regulator

    To include a second battery, add to your pledge +264 USD (349 AUD, 249 EUR).

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge AU$ 1,499 or more About $1,127

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

    (1135 USD, 1069 EUR)

    36% OFF RETAIL PRICE !!!

    Thank you for being one of the first to get on board. With your support, we'll be able to make AirBuddy a reality! You'll receive a single diver package with:
    - 1x AirBuddy
    - 1x Lithium battery
    - 1x Battery charger
    - 1x Single diver hose
    - 1x Harness
    - 1x Regulator

    To include a second battery, add to your pledge +264 USD (349 AUD, 249 EUR).

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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